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As of Thursday morning, Virgin America as an independent airline no longer exists. Yes, you might still see its red and white tail flying through the skies or sitting at an airport gate, but the airline as we’ve known it for the last 14 years no longer exists. Wednesday’s flights were the final to be operated as Virgin America, VX or “Redwood.”
January 11, 2018, is the first day that Virgin America and Alaska Airlines are operating under a single operating certificate. Now, instead of operating the two as separate entities — with both VX- and AS- marketed and operated flights — all flights are AS-operated in the eyes of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
While it might not mean much for the average passenger yet, AvGeeks are saying goodbye to one of the best parts of the airline. The carrier’s well-known — and beloved — callsign “Redwood” is gone for good, replaced instead with Alaska’s callsign of just “Alaska.”
As for the next steps of the merger, passengers should expect to see the Virgin America livery slowly phased out. According to Airline Geeks, the first former Virgin America Airbus aircraft could be in service with Alaska’s livery as soon as January 21. The next step for the merger: As of April 25, passengers will also be redirected to book all travel through Alaska’s site.
Even if you’re a big fan of Virgin America and sad to see the airline start to disappear for good, Alaska’s said that it plans to keep some of the customer-friendly touches that differentiate Virgin from its competitors. Alaska said it plans to keep Virgin’s cabin lighting and free entertainment. Plus, the carrier said that it’s rolling out Wi-Fi to its entire fleet by 2019 and increasing the number of first class seats on former Virgin Airbus’ from eight to 12.
This is the second major step in 2018 for the two airlines combining as one. As of January 1, the Virgin America Elevate program folded into the Alaska Mileage Plan program. And now, Virgin America as an airline no longer exists.
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